By Tony Attwood
Arsène Wenger really didn’t bother himself with the thought of Man City popping in to pick up Jack Wilshere.
He didn’t have to for three very good reasons.
First, there is no question of Arsenal not being able to compete in terms of salaries and transfers. If Arsenal want to keep a player, they can afford to keep him. Of course we can’t compete with Real Mad and Barcelona because they are special cases in terms of deals with local authorities, tax breaks, rule breaking in terms of young players etc. But for clubs without that sort of messing with the books, yes we can compete.
Second, players don’t want to leave. Because of the “4th isn’t a trophy” scenario players know they will be playing in the Champions League, and they know we will be challenging even the clubs with infinite sums of money, and all the clever tricks like pull like getting the state to subsidise the stadium, co-owning clubs all over the world, and taking the loan system to breaking point.
Third, because Arsenal has stability, as witness by the successful seeing off of the challenge of those who demanded Wenger out. Had the aaa won, then we would be seen as a club of instability, a bit like Man City, but instead our reputation is intact.
Which is in part why Jack Wilshere isn’t going anywhere. For even the silliest of footballers can look at the list of players that Manchester City has taken from Arsenal, and think, hang on, what happened to their careers?
Here’s the list in case you have forgotten: Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Samir Nasri, Gaël Clichy and Bacary Sagna. Throughout there is a feeling that careers that could have been extended and glowing have faded faster than might have been expected.
So this summer Arsenal might sell or give away one or two players to whom they are no longer able to offer regular game time. But that will be on Arsenal’s terms.
Instead we will primarily be looking to buy. But who? Here are ten in no particular order…
But before that consider this. Who are we going to edge out to make way for these players? This season the idea has been that we need
a) A goalkeeper, but Ospina has proven himself to be rather good.
b) Central defenders, but we have three, with the option of bringing in any one of three of the full backs if two of them get injured.
c) Full backs, but by my calculation we have five and can only play two at once. Plus Jenkinson on loan.
d) Defensive midfielder. We have Coquelin and Arteta, with Flamini as extra backup, and there is talk of the Ox playing there.
e) Midfield. There’s so many we would have to re-organise quite a lot. Those who claimed that Ozil was rubbish will just have to accept that most of us don’t agree.
f) Forward. Same again with Giroud. The man so berated, while Untold was “embarrassing” with its endless comparisons between the number of goals Giroud scored against the number Henry scored, but what is the point of bringing someone in ahead of Giroud at this moment?
And don’t forget the promise of Welbeck, the brilliance of Alexis, and the fact that Theo might get himself back together.
But anyway, it is now enshrined in law that we have to talk about transfers. So here are the ten for today. And remember, there’s plenty more where these came from.
1: £33 million to sign Porto forward Yacine Brahimi
2: Charlton’s Joe Gomez; a right-back and centre-back
3: André-Pierre Gignac of Marseilles who is out of contract in the summer. He’s 29 and is a striker or a winger,
4: Morgan Schneiderlin the French midfielder has been on everyone’s list so long one might think he had actually signed already but he hasn’t.